The collaborative law approach to divorce is designed to help spouses resolve their legal and financial issues out of court. That said, Florida courts exercise some authority over any divorce within the state. In this blog post, we will briefly discuss some of the ways the court may be involved in a collaborative divorce.
Collaborative law basics
First, we should explain that collaborative law is a whole approach to resolving legal conflict. It is most commonly used in divorce.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties commit to resolving their issues through mediation and, importantly, so do their attorneys. Typically, the attorneys agree to resign if their clients decide to go to court. Thus, everyone has incentives to come to an agreement.
The idea behind this is to avoid the adversarial nature of our legal system in favor of an approach that emphasizes resolution. Proponents say that, compared to other types of divorces, collaborative divorces tend to lead to less of the lingering resentment and ill-feeling that are common after divorce. This can be a benefit for anyone, but perhaps especially for divorcing parents of young children.
Ways the court might get involved
When parties can resolve their disputes on their own, they don’t take up time on a court’s crowded docket. For that and other reasons, Florida courts encourage spouses to pursue out-of-court mediation and collaborative law in divorce.
However, the court may still have some involvement in a collaborative divorce.
First, when the parties choose to resolve their issues out of court, the court may require periodic updates to ensure the process is going as it should.
Second, if the parties resolve their issues in mediation, they will write up a divorce settlement. This is a contract between the parties. Before finalizing the divorce, a court reviews the contract to make sure it follows Florida law.
Finally, in the event that the parties can’t reach agreement through mediation, they must inform the court of what has happened and describe which specific issues must still be resolved.